Sunday, November 30, 2008

pictures from rudesheim

christmas is in the air everywhere u go, but it is more so in rudesheim. they have christmas stalls all along the main road and many ppl flock here including tourists from overseas in tourist buses. christmas songs in english and german were playing and all stores are selling christmas things. christmas is really a huge and major and one of the most important celebrations for them. however, there were not many real shoppers, most ppl were browsing and only had food in their hand. well, one had to fill one's hungry tummy despite the bad economic situation.

one of the interesting streets here, very narrow and only 144m long: drosselgasse. cafes and souvenir shops along the way. pic on the right shows a christmas band performance. i wonder if they could really feel their fingers. my hands were freezing and i stared in envy at those ppl with gloves on. have to get aunt to lend me a pair glove now.


kathe wolfahrt's store. it is christmas all year round for this store. all sorts of x-mas deco u want. all hand-made in germany. all expensive :P


their intresting window display.


the buildings all facing the river...day and evening.


view from the hill. u can either walk up, take the car or go on a cable car. we chose cable car. €6.50 return. expensive. if u choose to walk, u will be walking through vineyards...good on a spring day.


the cable car ride. they lent everyone a polyster blanket to use in the gondola. some ppl wrapped themselves in the blanket. it was not that windy but my hands were freezing.


interesting buildings again and christmas decorations. walk slowly and lift your head to catch the unique windows. however, too many ppl along the street will just push u to move ahead following the crowd.

the rhine. there are many river cruises between towns here...from boppard to rudesheim, from koblenz, etc. one will enjoy views of villages along the river and castles on several hills along the way.

vineyards everywhere.

some food found in stores. candies, fruit bread and coated almonds (bottom right). we bought 100g of rum coated almonds €2.50 ...yummy.

roasted chestnut anyone?


Niederwald MonumentThe monument commemorates the re-establishment of the German empire following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. The main figure is "Germania" holding the imperial crown in her raised right hand and the imperial sword in her left hand. There is a marvellous view from the monument far into the Rheinland-Palatinate countryside.


we stopped at a roadside stall selling fruits on the way. bought a packet of pears. those wines are loreley wines...loreley is another town along this stretch of road.

asbach products.


as we drove along...

the cosy restaurant where we had our dinner. the christmas deco was really neat.

eating in rüdesheim

ok.today i felt like a tourist. it was a beautiful day as the sun was out...but of course it was still cold. ok..i am not going to repeat that it is cold..it will be cold till january anyway.

anyway, we started our drive to rudesheim after walking max at the hill at about 1.30p.m.
the drive took more than an hour and it was really a picturesque drive. we drove along the rhine river and pass by small towns along the way...all facing the wide rhine river on both sides. this part of rhine is known as the wine valley as well, so vineyards are unmissable here.

now i only post photos from my handphone...the next post will be all from the camera. i dun wanna mix them up.

this is my first purchase in germany...yup, up till now i haven't spent a cent..well aunt paid for all food and stuff. this snow ball(s) is €15, it is quite big. i buy it because it is cheap...haha..i dunno where i am going to put it...so mom better clear a space soon in the house for this snow ball. this shop we went into, sell all sorts of musical boxes and snow balls. it was so interesting to browse through and wind up every music box there just to hear the music. oh, my snow ball also has music. it is walking in the winter wonderland.

our dinner in a cosy german restaurant. aunt ordered fresh mussels cooked in redwine with tomatosauce. u decide whether it is cheap or not...1 kg for €9.50. a lot ah i tell you...now aunt can tell ppl that she finished 1kg of mussels by herself.

this is mine...scheinehexa or pork shank...traditional german dish...with mash potato and sour cabbage. the potato sucks...like eating glue. cabbage was all right. the pork? er..so so lah...€9.50. i could not finish it. only ate half...the other half, takeaway for the dog. fu man restaurant's friend pork shank is tastier ah. haha....

oh, the town rudesheim is famous for asbach, a wine produced in rudesheim itself. go to http://www.asbach.de/ i ordered this special coffee...rudesheimer hot coffee. €7.50 a cup. very expensive hor.
video

how to make a cup of rudesheimer coffee...ok i was a bit slow at pressing record..and i missed the first step.

u add 3 cubes of sugar, then pour 4cl of hot asbach and lit it up. then stir. u start with the lighting fire part in the video. then pour coffee and lastly top-up with cream and grated choc. yummy. coffee taste is till there and asbach too...really warm on a cold day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

koblenz, the nearest big town

koblenz: a historical town about 20 mins drive from bad ems. this is the nearest big town from bad ems...maybe we can categorize bad ems as a village now.
this is where u will find Deutsches Eck (German Corner). The Deutsches Eck (German Corner) got its name in the 13th century after the Teutonic Order of Knights settled here at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle. The Kaiser Wilhelm monument stands here, serving as a memorial to German Unity from 1953 until the reunification in 1990.

where the 2 rivers meet...one river is milky while the other is dark. one a bright clear day, u can see the different colours meeting.
kaiser wilhelm monument. i think they have big parties here too.

opposite the eck. Ehrenbreitstein fortress stands 118 metres high, overlooking the Rhine opposite Deutsches Eck (German Corner). It began with a small castle being built here around the year 1000. This was then gradually expanded into a fortress over the centuries by the Electors of Trier. After being destroyed by the French, Ehrenbreitstein was rebuilt and fortified by the Prussians. It became one of the strongest fortresses built in Europe after 1815 that is still almost completely preserved today. (source: http://www.germany-tourism.de/)
well, one can see many of these castles along the river no doubt.

along the compound of the eck.

some cruise boats plying the river.

somewhere near old town area...all cobbled streets. many quaint shops in this area. selling all sorts of things: jewellery, antique, furniture, clothes, bags, porcelain goods, shoes, stationery, art, book, kitchen ware, etc. many boutiques. did i tell u they even sell chritian audigier here? luckily i am not into house decoration, it is a haven here.
there is a ludwig museum here..hmmhh...and i only know after i googled, will try to visit it. no wonder i saw quite a number of small art galleries.

christmas market again...this time i got here before it was all dark.

the old town area. i guess most german towns will have new town and old town huh. and visiting towns means one has to learn to enjoy the buildings and architecture, and history....or else there will be nothing much to enjoy already. i still am trying hard to get the hang of it.

of food and the curious incident of the strange man in the night time

yawn! din go anywhere today. weather outside is -3C. couldn't even feel the nose when walking the dog today. the face was numb as soon as i got out of the car. but the thick jacket did its job of keeping me warm although it was a bit heavy...goose feather mind u.
so it was only snacking and in front of the computer the whole time. gosh...i flew all the way to do that here huh....
went grocery shopping...it was interesting looking at all the food on display. the different types of chocs, bread, fruits, vege, meat (loads of sausages), etc. and we went to 3 stores today: lidl, plus and aldi. aunt was looking for fresh flowers to put on the prayer altar...first day in the chinese lunar calendar today i think...or 15th.

in deutsche, this is johannis berry. very small but really bright red. aunt picked one out for me to try.. hahah...curi....it was neither sweet nor sour...and it had 3 seeds inside..no good.

paprika chips...but this is not good. those like pringles type is better. bought 2 pringles too: cheezy cheese and hot and spicy. how not to get fat? dun want to buy anymore chips lah hor...maybe ice-cream...haha...luckily it is too cold for me to attack ice-cream. another diet killer.





brüchen or bread...my favourite breakfast. just toast it in the oven and it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. sometimes just spread plain butter and sometimes add pieces of sausages or ham. and a cup of hot coffee in the hand...bliss while reading the star paper in front of the pc. a routine already.

and still about eating...yesterday we went to limburg again...the town on the way to frankfurt to aunt friend's house for dinner. aunt had to bring them the anchovies i brought from malaysia. she drove there in the dark..6p.m. with the help of the navigator. damn it was scary and she was on the panicky end. i also had to stop myself from panicking...imagine later driving back at 11p.m. on a quiet stretch of road with woods on both sides. so eerie. had to control my imagination while in the car. photo of the road was already shown in previous post...the one covered in snow and closed for traffic.

ok back to eating. her friend cooked mutton curry, fishball with vege, steamed fish, cow intestine and pork ear, and watercress soup. later lots of fruits: apple, persimmon, grape, orange, pomelo and tangerines. soo fulllll.

and then they talked talked and talked...about food in hk, about saving water and electric. utilities are expensive here, even the german tv station teach u how to save water. oh, i find one way that we can use too...to save water in the toilet. fill one 1.5 litre bottle with water, then put it into the tank. this way less water will be filled into the tank. we dun really need to use so much water anyway to flush urine right? but then again...who would be bothered to do this in malaysia? water is subsidised and at home, mom only paid rm1.50 for water.

lastly, the highlight of yesterday's trip to limburg...a minor accident which we did not witness. aunt's car was slightly 'kissed' at the back because someone was trying to squeeze into the narrow space on the driver's side. so at the corner of the back bumper, there was some black paint mark left...but very very little, almost not noticeable if u dun point it out. but the interesting thing was, a guy actually waited for us to come out of the house, with his torchlight (the parking area was dark) and told us the whole incident. he even recorded the car registration number (his neighbour). he really scared the shit out of us when he knocked on our windows and told us to get out of the car. luckily aunt's friend was still in the carpark and they talked to the guy.

aunt deliberated today whether to report to the police and let the police deal with it...in the end, no action taken because the damage was almost invinsible. the question in everyone's mind was: is the guy a real good samaritan or he had other motive? oh, but someone did leave a piece of paper on the windscreen scratched with a name and some illegible words and the numbers 44. who wrote that?

italia...ci? no?

damn it!! doing all the research and searching online make me so frustrated. coupled with the problem of booking via ryanair makes me wanna kick the pc. AAAHHH!!!!
i wanna go to italy! i wanna go to italy! i wanna go to italy!
it was so difficult to get aunt to settle on a date in the first place. then i had to draft an itenary for the trip. then finally i got to proceed to booking the flight ticket.

but before i manage to get the tickets, the problem started. i chose my date, i chose my airport, i chose no luggage to check in....then they come out with this message:
Please Confirm you are an EU/EEA citizen and will present a valid EU/EEA passport or National Identity card at the airport (Driving Licence not accepted)

then i click no to the above and proceed to give my name. lastly when i clicked continue, it tells me to confirm that if i am eu/eaa citizen....what the f***. i clicked no again. but it just refused to proceed for me! so am i supposed to click yes there? but when they ask for eu passport...what do i have to show them?

anyone who has any experience booking with ryanair please drop an answer. i travelled with ryanair before donkey years ago...and they had no such thing. new regulation ah?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

battery low...but still some photos to show

ok..just some lousy photos...camera just ain't working for night mode...battery is low.

road closed because of heavy snow. the trees covered in white were sooo beautiful. this was the view i watched all along from bad ems to limburg. if a deer came out from the woods, it would be like total fairy tale. luckily it did not snow in frankfurt.

from the car when we were on a hill. a village covered with snow. so christmassy.

this is the square outside goethestrasse in frankfurt. it is a church i think.

more shops here...but we did not go this way. aunt's friend only went to those expensive ones.

go straight, goethestrasse.

and now bad ems at night. was supposed to go out in the afternoon when the sky was bright, haiz...turned out tomorrow is brown bin rubbish day so aunt had to sweep the garden and rake the leaves. brown bin is for biogradable items. the day before yesterday was cardboard and paper collection day. i love their garbage management system!

hackers kurhotel in bad ems. we went out for an evening walk instead. well, it was so dark already by 6p.m. and cold....glove is a must!

the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre which is an award-winning alternative health clinic is housed in the historic Hackers Kurhotel--the former palace of Emperor William I, located in Bad Ems on the picturesque River Lahn. cool huh? the building is really impressive. and it is like hundreds of years old? but the rate is also not cheap lah. it is rated 4-star and the standard room starts from €89 inclusive of tax.

there is an indoor pool, with spa, sauna and stuff and the water from the sauna is direct from the mineral springs in bad ems wor.
when do i get a dip in these springs?

mmhhmmm...i can smell the chocolate from this house. in the lobby of the hotel.

the hotel across the river lahn.

one of the approved casinos in germany. spielbank means casino. it is really small i tell u and all machines. roulette machine, bingo, keno and slot. all together only 20 machines. €1 is collected as entrance fee.
conveniently located cigarette machines on most streets in germany. €4 a pack regardless of brands.

eating in frankfurt

videointroducing: automatic toilet seat cleaner. it cleans automatically after it flushes.

been slightly lazy to blog...i wish to say i was away somewhere sight-seeing, but sadly, that is not the case.

however, i did do some loafing in frankfurt for a few hours yesterday. as if frankfurt is that near hor...more than 1 hour away actually.

the plan to leave at 1p.m. did not materialise and we only really started the journey to frankfurt at about 4 plus from aunt friend's place in limburg. we went to their restaurant first and u know them lah...asked us to eat there lah, then they sat down and chatted lah. sigh...by the time we left limburg, it was already starting to get dark and we reached frankfurt at about 5. their main aim of going to frankfurt was for the buffet dinner.

our lunch at the chinese restaurant in limburg...

i had the most food yesterday...imagine steamboat buffet for dinner after that...aaarrggghhh....everyone was full and satisfied. we paid only €14.50 per person including our water. no free sky juice here, drinking water has to be bought. it was one of those chinese restaurants in frankfurt in the lobby area of an office building. should be somewhere in the commercial district. ran by a chinese owner from china, of course. all tables were occupied by chinese from china...it is their world now. some germans were there but of course accompanied by their chinese friends and they had individual pots instead of 2 big ones like ours.

what do we have? steamboat and they also have grill...they grill the things u have chosen and send to the table when it is done. prawns, squids, lamb chop, beef, mutton, fishballs, chicken wings, chicken, sushi, fresh vege, oysters, oranges, glutinous rice ball dessert, ice-cream, crab stick, bamboo shoots, dim sum and fried stuff (fries, calamari rings)



sorry no photo of frankfurt...it was dark and the photos wouldn't be nice. i went to the shopping district: goethestrasse where they have all the designer shops...well, i was brought there. man, those shops were really empty at this time when it is the season to shop for the holidays. times are really bad. some of the shops which we entered: louis vuitton, prada, tods, burberry and tiffany.

things are expensive and it is not worth buying them here. try hk or italy where we will get VAT rebate. they give VAT rebate here too but the price is already more expensive compared to italy.

ooh ooh i tried the tiffany silver charm bracelet for size....yea...it fits...pocket cham lah....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

dog walking hill

ok....one more look at this hill and bad ems from the hill :P

video

snapping away on the hill

it snowed quite heavily last night but luckily it stopped in the morning. however, there goes the photo opp of white white and white everywhere. too cold to go out for the photo last night. and the snow sweeper trucks were fast. one hour after snow, they came to clear the roads of the snow. efficient. the government will be sued if ppl meet accident on the road because of slow action. hmmh....ours will definitely go bankrupt with all the potholes forever there.
although it is freezing, the dog still had to go out to pee so here he was, playing in the snow. fun? cold? wet?
see all the snow? that was only after about 2 hours.
ok, i think this will be the last time i am going to post photos taken on the hill where we bring max for the walk. fingers were freezing while snapping them...and i had a pair of gloves on. brrrr.....
i dun think these are berries....maybe just some inedible berries of the plants here...

birds on wire....so lonely, so gloomy...

i like the different shades on the hill, but i think the colours are over-exposed right? the whiteness was really glaring and i had to squint my eyes at some points. well, i guess that was the direction of the sun as well. go further down, i am sure there is a farm house.

pass the hill, there is another town. i zoomed to get this.

this bare tree reminds me the wonder of life. here it is, standing alone facing the wind and cold everyday...the harshness of winter without all its leaves. but come spring, it will be filled once more and it will be visited again by friendly bugs and birds and then slowly it will blossom to its fullself. but then autumn will bring a change of scene and colours and slowly those leaves that have covered the twigs and branches will dry and wither and fade into the wind. and next year, at this time, it will be standing alone again covered by the bleak whiteness of snow.
oh, and the road here reminds me of the second road from the poem by robert frost- the road not taken.

anyone dare to climb up? a tree post?



a man also walking his dog. this is the scene aunt will want to avoid. the dog cannot go near any human contact nor vehicle. once he had dragged aunt as he went chasing after a car that passed by.
king frederick promenade? i guess it is named after the king...yes, u will find such king when u google the name. add the word promenade and ur result will show a hotel by that name in bad homburg...somewhere near frankfurt. i wonder what this sign here refers to?

later in the afternoon we went to koblenz again...that is the nearest town aunt can drive to. before going to all those outlet warehouses on the outskirt of the town (where we only browsed and not buy anything...oh, hugo boss suits are sold at outlet prices too), we made a short stopover at manuela's house to give her the milo i bought. ela is a few years older than me i think, and i met her the first time i came to germany in 95. so she is my hi-bye german friend i guess. her english is not good, so conversation was quite minimal.
on the chair is her mom who will stay with her for a month. the eldest daughter looks very much like ela and the second one on the floor loves hello kitty very much. haha...my gang.
will visit them again...the girls' birthdays in december and there will be a party.